Are You Living In A “Died In” House?

Ever been somewhere and felt a chill, heard a strange voice, or seen something that seemed not-of-this-world?

If you answered yes, you’re not alone.

One-in-five adults in the U.S. say they’ve seen or been in the presences of a ghost, according to Pew Research.

Jerry Grodesky, a broker with Farm and Lake Houses Real Estate in Illinois said he has sensed hauntings in certain properties.

So have his clients.

“On a showing to a Chicago suburb we toured a mid-level home that was vacant and remodeled,” Grodesky recalls. “The backstairs lead to the basement. I remarked to my buyer that there was a new furnace … I turned around and was startled to see that she had bolted out the backdoor.”

Once outside she asked Grodesky if he had heard it.

“Heard what?” he asked.

“A voice of an old man, coming from the basement yelled, get out!” she said.

Grodesky said he never dug into the history of the home to see if anyone else had similar experiences, or if there were any deaths in the home.

“That is hard to find out,” he said.

Finding out the history of a home – in particular, any deaths that may have occurred there – takes both time and research.

Roy Condrey knows this first hand.

Condrey is the founder of diedinhouse.com a website where users pay $14.99, type in an address and get a report about potential deaths in the property.

He was compelled to start the website when he couldn’t find any history on one of his rental properties in South Carolina after the tenant told him she suspected it was haunted.

“There is no carfax for your house,” Condrey said. “I couldn’t find anything online that provided the information. What I found were pages and pages of people asking the same question.”

So, he decided to create a site that might hold the answers.

His site, which launched in 2013, uses a special algorithm that combs millions of records and returns a report with information stating any known deaths in the home, who died, when, the cause of death (if it can be found), list of previous residents, vital stats of previous residents and additional information about the death. Sometimes the results turn back deaths of individuals in homes from natural causes, other times the story is more complex.

Condrey mentioned a home in Missouri that had been used as a torture chamber by a suspected serial killer who killed between 12 and 20 women. The renter living in the home had no idea about the background of the property until she saw it featured on television documentary.

In just one year, the DiedinHouse database has turned up thousands of homes across Chicago, San Francisco, Brooklyn, and the rest of the nation, where people have died in properties. (See more cities maps of DiedinHouses below)

Condrey thinks it’s important for potential buyers and renters to know the history of a property before committing to buying or renting, particularly because the majority of states in the U.S. have no laws that require such disclosures.

“I am unaware of any state law mandating the disclosure of non dangerous defects when renting a property,” said Matthew Reischer the CEO of LegalAdvice.com. “Unless a defect can be proven to be empirically dangerous, it is not deemed to be a fact that must be disclosed to potential renters.”

In the case of buyers, Reischer says in no state is there a law where a person is required to disclose a death by natural causes. Some states, however impose a duty on a “stigmatized home or apartment in which there has been a suicide or murder.”

And there are plenty of people out there who’d like to know such information.

In addition to individual buyers and renters, Courdrey said his site is also used by those tracking paranormal activities and landlords and real estate professionals who want their clients to be fully informed before making a decision to move in.

“I’m not trying to tell you how to feel about the information, but I do feel like it should be disclosed to you if you want to know,” Condery said.

Interested in seeing where some Died in Homes are located? Check out the maps of DIH locations and a “spirit” (a.k.a. heat map) for Chicago, San Francisco and Boston. Map data provided by DiedinHouse.com.
  
San Francisco Died in Houses
San Francisco Died in Houses
San Francisco DIH "Spirit" Map
San Francisco DIH “Spirit” Map
Boston Died in Houses
Boston Died in Houses
Boston DIH "Spirit" Map
Boston DIH “Spirit” Map
 
Lead photo credit: Loren Kerns